I have looked into some of the things that can increase your car’s value and I found out that routine maintenance has always been the best way to make sure that your car is as valuable as possible.
We are often told that cars should depreciate in value over time because of the usual wear and tear that their parts and components go through. But that shouldn’t always be the case.
The fact of the matter is that routine maintenance, along with other different factors and conditions, can actually make your car retain its original value or even make it more valuable.
Simply put, the reason for such is that making sure that your car is taken care of properly is the best way to keep its parts and components in top shape. Then again, there are other things that you can do to make sure that your car’s value goes up.
So, if you want to know how to increase your car’s value, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- Can your car’s value go up?
- 10 things that will increase your car’s value
- What usually makes a car’s value go down?
Can your car’s value go up?
One of the things that most people know is that, the moment you start driving your car, its value will begin to depreciate. In most cases, cars tend to lose about 20% of their value just after a year.
Most cars will depreciate over time because of how the wear and tear of driving these cars can affect the value of the parts and components that contribute to the car’s overall value.
So, in relation to your car, you probably won’t be able to get back something that is higher than the original purchase price you had to pay when you bought it.
The exception, however, is if you have a make or model that is particularly popular because of its reliability. There are also car models that have been considered “classics” and are far more expensive now than they originally were.
In all other cases, a car’s value will probably stay under its original purchase price. Then again, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to increase its perceived value when you are about to sell it.
With that, even though you won’t be able to increase your car’s value beyond what you paid for it, you still will be able to make it more valuable than the going price in the market. That means that you will be able to get a good return on its original purchase price.
So, now that you know that you can increase your car’s value beyond its going rate in the second-hand car market, I have listed down some of the things that you can do to increase your car’s value.
10 things that will increase your car’s value
1. Proper maintenance
You can never disregard what proper maintenance can offer in terms of your car’s overall resale value in the long run. Regular maintenance is a must if you want to make sure that your car’s value increases because any car that’s properly maintained tends to pass the test of time better than others that don’t undergo regular maintenance.
So, in relation to that, never ever skip regular maintenance on your car. Read the car’s manual to see when it should be taken to the mechanic for regular maintenance. Things such as oil change, tire replacements, and minor repairs should never be disregarded.
The more regular you maintain your car, the more likely it will be able to hold onto its value in the long run. Of course, when it’s time to sell it, a lot of its parts and components will either be new or properly maintained, which would all contribute to a higher overall value for your car.
2. Low mileage
One of the first things that most prospective car buyers would look at is the mileage on a second-hand car because this is the true measure of how much the car has been used. Essentially, the lower the mileage, the higher the value.
In most cases, a car that is newer than an older car but has a higher mileage might end up having a lower value compared to the older one that wasn’t driven or used as much. And the reason why mileage is a good indicator of a car’s value is that the miles tell the entire story of the overall wear and tear on some of the most important parts and components of the vehicle.
Usual cars will be driven around 10,000 to 15,000 a year and will eventually end up with a six-figure mileage by the time they are sold. So, if you want to keep your car’s value as high as possible, try keeping its mileage as low as possible. This should be something that you could do if you have multiple cars as you can minimize your use of the car whose value you want to increase.
3. Make and model
If you’re still out there shopping for a car but you are already thinking of how you are going to keep its value in the long run, it is best to choose a make and model that is more likely to hold on to its value.
The truth of the matter is that there are cars that are generally more popular and are capable of holding onto their value for a long time compared to other cars because of how reliable they are. So, by choosing a good car, it would be easier for you to increase its value from a long-term perspective.
So, if you want a car that’s capable of keeping its value high in the long run, try doing your research first. There are numerous online guides that can help you make a more informed decision regarding car models that are more likely to retain their value. Some of these sites include:
4. Make repairs
Some of the parts and components of your car, no matter how small they may be, can bring the vehicle’s value down if you don’t have them repaired or replaced promptly. That’s because minor repair jobs that are skipped may end up hurting your car more in the long run.
When a smaller part or component in your car is faulty or broken, your car would probably still work properly but what will happen is that some of its other parts and components will compensate for the broken part. This can lead to more repair jobs in the future.
So, what I’m trying to say here is that you should make sure that, if there are parts and components that need repairs or replacements, don’t wait to have them repaired or replaced. That way, your car will be able to hold onto its value longer.
Some minor repairs that you should try to look at include:
- Changing the battery
- Changing the oil
- Replacing the transmission oil, coolant, and brake fluid
Remember that these repairs may be minor but ignoring them can actually have a lasting impact on your car’s overall value especially if these repairs lead to more repairs in the future.
5. Higher trim levels
When you are out shopping for a car, some of the things you would probably avoid are the higher trim levels or more expensive variants of the same make or model of a car. And it’s easy to want to avoid spending thousands of dollars more on higher trim levels because of how you believe that the difference between them and the one that’s just a tad lower is very small.
However, what you need to know is that higher trim levels tend to retain their value over time compared to the ones that are on the lower end of the trim.
So, even if the difference between one trim level and another is just a sunroof or a better navigation system, you need to know what these are already more than enough to increase a car’s value.
True enough, you will end up spending more dollars on a higher trim level upfront but the long-term returns will actually be rewarding if you consider how cars that are higher up in terms of trim level end up keeping their value longer than the more affordable trims.
6. Better safety features
Given that road accidents can happen at any given moment without a fault on your part, it is important for any car to have great safety features that can help minimize the damage to the passengers.
So, if that’s the case, it is best that you choose a car that has additional safety features on top of the standard safety features that the model comes with. This is one of the reasons why cars that are higher up on the trim level tend to hold onto their value for a longer period as the additional safety features can make or break the buyer’s decision.
Safety is something that you can’t put a price on, and that’s why cars that have amazing safety features tend to have better values. That’s why you have to go for newer cars that come with extra safety features that will still be very useful and valuable five years down the line.
Some of the safety features that add value to the car include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning systems, automatic high beams, and hands-free Bluetooth speakers. The safer the car is, the more likely it will have a higher value.
7. Make your car shine
While it may be true in some cases that beauty is skin deep, you should know that beauty increases your car’s value. The more beautiful your car looks on the outside, the higher the chances that its value will increase.
What I’m saying is that you need to invest in improving your car’s exterior looks. But there are ways of improving the car’s exterior without having to spend a ton of money on keeping your car looking fresh and clean.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a new paint job because something as simple as using wax and polish can already add value to the car.
Even if your car’s paint has faded so much due to sunlight exposure and other harsh conditions such as rain and snow, you don’t have to worry about remembering what it looked like in the past.
Try going inside the car and looking at the area inside the door frame because this area doesn’t get exposed to outside conditions that can damage the paint. Doing so will allow you to remember what your car’s original paint looked like so that you can restore it to its original color by waxing and polishing it.
But keep in mind that waxing and polishing the car will not give you the assurance that you will get its original brand-new look again. However, regular waxing and polishing the car can make a difference in the long run when it comes to maintaining the car’s original color and shine.
Be reminded as well that you have to use products that were designed to clean the car and maintain its paint’s color and shine. Do not use household cleaning products.
8. Fix the insides
The car’s interior matters just as much as its exterior. That means that you would have to keep your car’s interior as good as new if you want its value to increase or if you want to maximize whatever value you can get out of it.
First things first, remove those floor mats and clean them. If they have stains or holes that cannot be remedied, then the best thing to do is to replace them. The floor mats won’t cost you a lot but you will be surprised to know the value that they add to your car.
In most cases, floor mats that are attractive and of high quality will be somewhere between $20 and $30 depending on your car. But you could potentially get more out of that investment when the floor mats make the interior look a lot better.
Don’t forget to clean the rest of the interior as well but vacuuming the carpet and spot-cleaning any stain that can be removed. You should also clean and treat the leather seats to make sure that they look as good as new.
Similar to your car’s exterior, it’s not a good idea to use household cleaners when cleaning your car’s interior. That’s because the materials used on the car’s insides are not the same as the materials used for your household furniture. So, in other words, it is best to buy cleaners that were formulated to clean your car’s interior.
9. Don’t ignore the scratches and dents
A lot of people don’t know it but they end up losing a lot of money because they would rather ignore scratches and dents and then sell their car at a discounted value instead of spending money to fix those scratches and dents.
While it might be true that scratches and dents can indeed be expensive to fix, not all scratches and dents require the help of a professional and an expensive bill.
There are some scratches that can be polished. Meanwhile, when it comes to the dents, even though you might end up spending good money to have those dents fixed, you have to know that this is an investment that can help increase the car’s value to an extent that the returns will be more than the expenses.
As such, don’t accept a bargain value for your car just because of scratches and dents that you ignored.
10. Fix the paperwork
No matter how well you maintain your car and even if you made the necessary repairs and replacements, it still is difficult to prove that you have done your part without evidence on your part. This is why you need to fix the paper works that can serve as proof of your car’s condition.
I suggest that you keep a folder that has all of the different maintenance and repair records for your car so that it would be easy to prove that you’ve done your part in keeping it in top shape. Store the folder in a place that’s safe and easy to access for you.
Of course, some potential buyers are more likely to pay a good value for your car if you were able to prove to them that you actually care about your vehicle. A car that came from someone who did his part to care for it has the intangibles that will increase the car’s overall value. This is why the paperwork is necessary when it comes to your car’s value.
What usually makes a car’s value go down?
Now that you know what can increase a car’s value, here are some of the things that can easily pull your car’s value down:
- Mileage. The more you drive your car, the more it will end up having a lower value. A car with a six-digit mileage would end up having a lower value compared to those with five digits.
- Irregular maintenance. Skipping regular maintenance can damage your car and pull its value down. Not even repair jobs can fix the damage that irregular maintenance can do to a car’s value.
- Delayed repairs. Similarly, delaying repairs no matter how minor they may be can affect the vehicle’s overall value because these damages can lead to more damages that would require more repairs.
- Wear and tear. There is no easy way to escape the depreciation hole when it comes to a car’s value because of the regular wear and tear that its parts and components go through. So, if you don’t take care of your car and if you mishandle it such as when you don’t drive it the right way, the different parts and components will wear down faster. As a result, the vehicle’s overall value will be affected.
- Going cheap. Don’t try to go cheap when you are talking about repairs and parts replacements because these won’t last very long. Of course, any appraiser can easily tell whether or not you went for the cheaper parts. And that can do more harm than good on your car’s value.
Unnecessary upgrades. Some car upgrades are simply unnecessary and will actually pull your car’s value instead of increasing it. These upgrades may look and sound nice but they won’t do anything good for your car’s value. Such upgrades include tinted windows, fake engine sounds, body kits, stick-on hood vents, and undercarriage lighting.
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